Wednesday, October 22, 2008

french service


who knew that the public library would be a venue for a wedding reception?  is that the first place you think of for your special party?  i guess this was the location for one of the "sex and the city" girls to have her reception.  i'm not too up on my episodes.  so someone figured they would do the same thing.  and heck, why not, if you have an extra $100,000 lying around just to rent the space! after that, you could drop another 300k on the designers and rental of tables, candelabras, dinnerware, etc.  then of course, you'll need lighting so you can light up the tableware just right...oh, and you'll need to light the entry hall, mezzanine level and third floor bars, and certainly can't forget the dance hall.  all of this is before paying me to cater your party, along with about 100 of my friends.  food and wine for the 400 guests and as many vodka shots as they want to down will be an additional cost.  the 12 piece band for the dance, the violinist to play jewish-russian wedding music, keeping the ice bar solid from 5 pm saturday night to 3 am sunday morning, and other sundries.  that should do it...shouldn't be more than 2 million dollars.  maybe a little more.  

this really was the most richly decorated event i've catered since arriving here.  the library itself is stunning.  you can check out basic pictures of the library at www.nypl.org.  the pics i've posted here are just the little ones i took with my phone of the event.  the library sits in bryant park between 40th and 42nd street with its entrance on 5th avenue.  by the way, all those candles on the steps of the entry were placed by yours truly and some cater buddies.  people were stopping constantly to ask what was going on.  some took advantage of the backdrop for their own photos.  one lady asked if it was a vigil for the war.  

the dining table was unbelievable.  the photo here doesn't really do it justice.  it almost looks like some kind of optical illusion photo, but it really does
 just keep going and going.  this i know, since i had to walk it an untold number of times in set up as well as during dinner.  200 per side.  imagine that space with 400 guests and another 50 or so waiters all trying to scoot past one another in the 2 feet behind the chairs which in this pic haven't been placed yet, and filled with 400 healthy bodies that like to sit a foot away from the table.  two words... may hem.  and then
 we were giving french service, as it's called.  this is when you take a 
tray with servings for 10 or so.  you dish it out at the table, always from the left of course which meant everyone was leaning to their right...right into their neighbor.  it was tight!  still...there was a kind of opulent elegance, or elegant opulence to the design of it all.  can those words be put together?

the day began at 4:15 am saturday morning for a catering gig in connecticut.  we arrived back in manhattan at 5:00 pm at which point i hustled over to the library for the wedding reception gig for the next 12 hours of my life.  yes...i pulled a 24 hour shift.  i think there are many who do this for a variety of reasons.  i just wanted to appear macho.  finished the breakdown of the ice bar (yep, the whole thing was made of ice!), glasses, leftover food, and a small glass of scotch with the boss around 4:00 am Sunday morning and made my way home.  dreamland by 5:00.  

next time you are at a catered event, say hi to your waiter.  they may be at the end of their strength, beyond 
even the effects of red bull.  they may be the next movie star or theater diva.  as with everything, there are so many unknown and hidden stories of those who serve us.  




6 comments:

Kim Wentzel said...

You always did have a way with candles. The entrance looks gorgeous. Huge kudos for that!

avk100 said...

So who were the married couple?????? Don't leave us hangin'

Lainey said...

As they say in Austria, "vow".

Kelsey Patterson said...

I agree with Kim...lovely candle work, as per usual. I want an ice bar...

mark said...

i believe the last name of the couple was berman. i really don't know more than that. :) i'm just a lowly cater-waiter

Jeremiah said...

That is really incredible! I suppose if you have the money...why not!

I do love that bar as well!